Education

What Is STEAM Education & Why It Is Important

STEM Education includes educational activities for children that integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It was recognized by scientific administrators in the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) to better prepare students for future jobs. STEM skills increase the chances of children’s success in higher education, careers, and entrepreneurial endeavors.  

From STEM TO STEAM- understanding the inclusion of Art

The greatest scientists are artists as well.

-Albert Einstein

Science helps in creation, and creation involves imagination. This is where Art comes into play. This STEAMy symbiosis between Art and Science is important to raise this generation to be multi-disciplinary thinkers.

STEAM is an educational discipline that sparks a love for Science and Art from an early age. Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics are all interconnected fields that involve creative processes. Incorporating the A in STEAM is an attempt to enhance the scientific experience by adding creativity to it. 

The arts and STEM subjects complement each other. Art provides tools for better problem solving, innovating, and linking multiple fields. The idea behind STEAM is to teach kids that they can be both analytical and creative at the same time. A very popular example is DaVinci’s drawings and mathematical laws of nature. These have been used in many practical inventions. 

Adrian Nicholas, a skydiver from London, developed and tested Leonardo’s more than 500 years old hot-air balloon sketch, by floating 10,000ft above ground level. He stated that the ride was smoother than modern parachutes.

The original design sketch and note by Da Vinci found in a notebook in 1483:

Adrian Nicholas testing Da Vinci’s Hot Air Balloon design:

Source: Angelfire

How does STEAM assist learning?

  • It provides students with the tools to find creative ways of problem-solving, data visualization, innovation, and cross-disciplinary thinking. 
  • It helps students learn transferable skills which will be essential to enter the future workforce. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be an 8.8 percent increase in STEM and STEAM-related occupations between now and 2028.
  • The STEAM approach doesn’t just focus on the subject matter, but also on how to ask better questions, consider different perspectives, and experiment with ideas. This promotes open-mindedness and enables a creative mindset.
  • STEAM empowers teachers to use Project-based Learning that spans all five disciplines and nurtures an inclusive learning environment.
  • Unlike traditional teaching models, the STEAM framework enables teachers to bring the five disciplines together. This helps students exercise both sides of their brain (analytical and creative) at the same time. 

STEAM helps develop four primary skills to succeed in the 21st century

Critical Thinking

Everyday life activities help us understand the value of skills imparted by STEAM. E.g., your kid has to pack his bag for a vacation. They will have to consider the time needed, the number of items, and their size, shape, and weight. 

A child exposed to STEAM skills will apply his problem-solving skills and think critically to increase efficiency while packing. 

Treating the five subjects as parts of a whole encourages critical thinking. Parents can also look at digital skills like Gaming, Coding, Design Thinking, etc., which helps develop this mindset early on. 

Collaboration

Peer-to-peer learning is an important aspect of STEAM. STEAM projects are micro versions of modern workplaces. It involves students exchanging knowledge, ideas, and experience to learn with and learn from each other. Learn about the different ways of collaboration through STEAM, here.

Creativity

The exam-centric education model in India limits creativity in students. This is where the STEAM comes into play. The STEAM framework fosters creativity through the integration of arts.

Amal Mathew, a final year mechatronics student developed an automatic sanitizer dispenser with minimal resources. Using his creativity, he applied his skills to solve a relevant problem. Research backs this as it shows that mechatronics applied with active methodologies is a good means to engage students in STEAM disciplines.

Communication

STEAM encourages your child to perform certain activities like brainstorming ideas, joining collaboration & debates, and engaging in diverse communities as a part of their routine. 

It transforms children’s minds by keeping innovation at the heart of problem-solving and fostering a love for problem-solving. It provides them with the necessary tools and approaches to try creative problem-solving, pattern recognition and intersecting multiple domains.

As parents, you continuously strive to provide a rich learning environment and access to essential skills for the future. Helping students explore STEAM skills through play can also keep them engaged creatively while developing 21st-century skills. There are many opportunities in everyday life for parents to integrate it naturally, check out a few here.